Lexmark X5470 All–in-One printer review

All-in-one printers, scanners, copiers and fax machines are one of the best ways to go if you need all the devices on offer but suffer from a lack of desk space. The X5470 may not be particularly small but it looks quite nice thanks a clean and stylish design and nice grey and white livery. It has also just been given the Innovations 2007 Design and Engineering Award by the Consumer Electronics Association at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. So not bad. However, the X5470’s design provides a 10-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) for batch scanning or copying also had a habit of jamming as it reached the last few pages of a batch process. Very frustrating!

A paper feed slot at the back for 100-sheets of (up to) A4 paper and a feed tray that extends from the front of the device below the main control and dial key panel that also includes a small data LCD to keep you abreast of what the device is up to.

To the right of the control panel sits the memory card slots for xD PictureCard, CompactFlash Type I/II, Sony Memory Stick Duo (and Duo Pro and both with adapter), SD/MMC, Mini SD (with an adapter) and it has PictBridge compatibility with a dedicated USB port for direct connections from compatible cameras. This means the X5470 can be used just like a stand-alone printer as well or as a (big) memory card reader for off-loading images onto your PCs hard disc, so helping reduce desk clutter a little bit more.

The built-in fax provides a 33.6kbps modem speed (fairly standard stuff) while the A4 scanner provides a top optical scan resolution of 600 x 1200ppi, so quite adequate for most general document scanning (and for the copier functionality it also services) but not really ideal for high-quality scanning.

Print resolution is a pretty impressive 4800 x 1200dpi with two ink tanks providing the colours, one black and one housing the cyan, magenta and yellow inks. The black tank can be swapped for an additional tank housing the light cyan and magenta inks – plus black – to bring the printer to its full, six-ink printing capability. This is not an ideal solution (you end up with a spare tank knocking about) but does help to keep costs down and user complexity to a dignified and simple level.

It is very simple to use and set up with a phone book button to help you store (or use) pre-programmed numbers, there’s capacity for 89 individual speed dial numbers or 10 speed dial groups. To send a fax you pick one of the phone book to select a number, pick a delay before dialling and if required. You can also forward the fax to another number if required and block junk faxes if you have your caller ID settings set up.

Copying and scanning provides you with a wide range of resize options offering a 25% to 400% enlargement range, there’s a repeat copy function (four, nine or 16 copies) and you can adjust the copy quality, paper size and the other “usual” adjustments on offer. In terms of print quality, you can print good, borderless A4 photo quality prints (using the six-ink cartridge) among other sizes that would be fine for most users. But with the four-ink set up print quality is ideal only really for general documents and graphics and even then banding became an issue with some blocks of solid colour but on the up side the output colour looked very nice and matched my screen/originals nicely.

Print speeds look impressive with up 25 pages per minute (ppm) in mono draft mode. As soon as you require better quality output, the speeds slump to a less impressive 15ppm mono. Colour print speeds are slower still, a claimed 18ppm (in draft) drops to around seven pages a minute. Copying was very slow too at just about one page a minute when copying an A4 document at the default settings. Scanning quality was quite good though for most general tasks and while colours looked muted the highest quality settings provided more than enough detail for most users, just don’t expect to get photo-quality results.

In other words, performance in terms of speed comes at a cost: quality drops off quickly in all areas but particularly in text output. However, it does well to remember the likely audience for this machine will not always be requiring the highest of quality output or, conversely, the fastest of high quality prints, and given the price; the package is not bad overall.

Verdict

With or without the optional Ethernet networking solution (available for another £50) the X5470 is certainly worth a look. There are a few faster – or better quality output-producing machines – on the market but they are pricier (just). This is a simple to use, easy to set up machine that has a great feature set and all for under £100.